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VEKDICT   OX INDIA

better. I do not credit these suggestions ; they are ungenerous,
they are also unnecessary. Xo doubt the fast was indefensible;
it was barefaced blackmail and whatever its outcome it could
have no effect on the general situation except to confuse the issues.
None the less, our contempt for this form of political masochism
does not justify us in assuming that it was a fake.

]\Irs. Xaidu, at least, had a very different story to tell. She said
that towards the end of the seventh day, Gandhi, to all appear-
ances. . .died. He had been sinking rapidly since the morning \
they were gathered round his bedside, fearing the worst. As the
dusk deepened, the worst seemed to happen ; his breathing ceased,
his pulse faltered and stopped. clt was as though a light had gone
out of the world/ she said. How he came back, by what miracle
the frail, wizened body reasserted itself, she could not explain;
she was too moved by the memory of it. All she could suggest was
that it was a supreme effort of will. She is probably right; India
is full of men who have ventured far into the valley of the shadow,
and have turned and retraced their steps.

IV
The curious feature of the foregoing account is that the things
which Mrs. Naidu did not mention are really more significant
than the things which she did.
She was very frank ; she did not attempt to conceal her hatred
of * British Imperialism'; if she had had any complaints of the
prison regime, ixot only as it applied to herself but to others less
fortunately situated, she would certainly have proclaimed them.
But she did not.
Charges of actual brutality, needless to say, one would not
expect. Even the most hysterical opponent of British rule has not
yet seriously charged us with emulating the methods of the Nazi
concentration camps.1 But one might well have expected to be told
1 The number of occasions when physical violence has been cited against the
British, even in times of riot and civil commotion, is astonishingly small. Apart
from one or two unhappy episodes, of which Amntzar is the most notorious, the
charges boil down to a few bruised heads and broken limbs. And even these, it
must be remembered, were usually caused by Indian policemen, defending them-
selves against greatly superior odds.